Nutmeg says hands down Vienna is the best Coffee Capital. You will find decent coffee in all three locations, Paris has already been mentioned (02/23 Don’t tell the French Italian coffee is better), Brussels is decent with many options for Italian expresso or café au lait. However, the Viennese have created an entire culture around the “coffee-house” which generally involves a smoky bar or quieter lounge. Legend has it that soldiers of the Polish-Habsburg army, while liberating Vienna from the second Turkish siege in 1683, found a number of sacks with strange beans that they initially thought were camel feed and wanted to burn. The Polish king Jan III Sobieski granted the sacks to one of his officers named Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, who started the first coffee house. After some experimentation, he added some sugar and milk, and the Viennese coffee tradition was born.
In Vienna, there are plenty of sweet choices to go along with your coffee. The two most delicious and famous are the Sachertorte and Applestrudel. Legend has it the Sachertorte was invented in the kitchens at the 5-star Sacher Hotel. It is definitely very good although Nutmeg is not sure if it is the best. The Sacher Café closely guards the recipe; in fact it is apparently locked in a vault. Not to worry though you can find a very acceptable version on Epicurious. The only issue in Vienna is they still allow smoking in restaurants so look for one with a non-smoking section…or no people.
Nutmeg’s vote: Vienna is the best coffee capital.
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